Village Council OKs art panels at Central Park entrance

BECKY VARGO, Grand Haven Tribune, Mich.
·2 min read

Apr. 8—The brick fence lining the west entrance to Spring Lake's Central Park is being prepared for the next round of Art in the Park murals.

Spring Lake Village Council in March approved the four 13-foot-wide murals that will cover the fence opposite Ace Hardware.

Four Spring Lake High School students will paint the murals using a theme they created, "The Importance of Our Environment and Diversity." They are Tori Airo, Inez Allard, Haley Brosnan and Ellie Vega.

Village Downtown Development Authority Director Angela Stanford-Butler said she expects the teens will start painting the murals in May.

The students had originally submitted artwork to match a theme, "Arts and Music Bridge the Gap of Diversity."

One of the pieces created by Liv Butler, now a SLHS senior, was selected and the artwork was painted on the side of the Seven Steps Up building.

When the next artist work selected had to be put on hold due to a highway construction project, Butler said a decision was made to reach out to the youth again because they had funding that had to be spent. And so they came up with the new "canvas."

Butler said they originally reached out to the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation Youth Council when Gary and Michelle Hanks requested a mural created by a student be placed on the Seven Steps Up building. The Youth Council put her into contact with the Spring Lake High School art department, and they sponsored a competition. Five entries were submitted.

"Everyone was stunned with the submissions from the teens," Butler said. "The judges were blown away."

When the new canvas opportunity arose, the Art in the Park committee went back to the teens, who came up with a new theme and developed their concepts over the winter.

"These kids, they put their hearts and souls into it," Butler said. "We want the kids to know there's a value to their talent."

The Art in the Park project was started after the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office conducted a survey about community policing through environmental design, Butler said.

Not only did the project include murals, two of which border the linear bike path in downtown Spring Lake, but also included adding more lighting and fencing to keep children from running into the street near the playgrounds.

"Danger likes to be alone," Butler said. "When you put something like this up, it attracts people and discourages crime."

You may contact Becky Vargo at bvargo@grandhaventribune.com.